Pennsylvania clears way for Sunoco gas pipeline

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has given the go-ahead to Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline project after two and a half years of debate.

Sunoco may now start construction on its $2.5 billion, 300-plus mile pipeline, to carry natural gas from western Pennsylvania to refineries near Philadelphia.

The pipeline will pass through thousands of properties in 17 counties, including Cumberland, Dauphin, York, Lancaster and Lebanon. That includes Harvey Nickey’s property in Newville.

“Sunoco has eminent domain over my property and they have it,” Nickey said.

His fight against the pipeline, which includes lawsuits and appeals, is a few years old, but his reason for fighting spans decades.

“I worked all my life for it,” Nickey said of his expansive, quiet farm. “Me and my wife both worked sometimes three jobs to buy it.”

Harvey is now relying on three environmental groups who joined to appeal the DEP-issued permits.

“We’re concerned with the environment, we’re concerned with the protection of Pennsylvanians all along the pipeline route,” said Alex Bomstein, a senior litigation attorney for the Clean Air Council.

Sunoco said in a statement its “plans minimize impacts to the environment, protected species and cultural resources” while giving Pennsylvania the “opportunity to develop its own manufacturing economy” rather than outsource.

Nickey had different plans. “Continue to farm it, live here, quiet peaceful life,” he said.

He says that will be interrupted by the now-impending construction crews at his home.

“I’ll have to watch my grandchildren, great-grandchildren, keep them on a leash also,” he said. “It’s just going to be pretty unbearable for the next few years.”

DEP said it will continue to hold Sunoco accountable during construction and operation.

Sunoco plans to break ground in the coming weeks and complete the project by the third quarter of this year.

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